John Bercow warns Tory leadership hopefuls Parliament could block no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
28th May 2019

John Bercow has warned Tory leadership hopefuls that Parliament could still block a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Bercow spoke at a Foreign Policy at Brookings event in Washington
Credit: 
Parliament TV

Speaking in America, the Commons Speaker said the idea that MPs will not seek to intervene if it looks as though the UK will crash out without an agreement is "for the birds".

Boris Johnson, currently the favourite to succeed Theresa May, has said the UK will leave the EU on 31 October "deal or no deal".

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Meanwhile, Esther McVey and Dominic Raab have also insisted there is nothing to fear from such a scenario.

But addressing a Brookings Insitute event in Washington, Mr Bercow said: “The idea that Parliament is going to be evacuated from the centre stage of debate on Brexit is simply unimaginable...

“The idea the House won't have its say is for the birds.”

Mr Bercow added that while no-deal is the legal default position, that did not take account of "what the interplay of different political forces in Parliament will facilitate".

The Speaker also pointed out that Article 50 - the legal process of leaving the EU - was triggered in the last Parliament, and could be revoked by the current crop of MPs.

He said: "No Parliament can bind the hands of its successor.  This Parliament can do as this Parliament thinks fit."

Mr Bercow added: “There is a view that says the referendum supersedes anything else. 

“Parliament legislated. There is a view that says that’s it, we didn’t talk about best of three or best of five…The only duty of a member of Parliament is for he or she to do what they think is right."

Mr Bercow also admitted that inviting Chinese President Xi Jingping to address Parliament in 2015 may have been a mistake.

He reflected: "You make mistakes. Looking back do I think there’s a powerful argument that says perhaps the Chinese President should not have been invited?  

“Was it necessarily the right decision? No.

"I was at an earlier stage in my speakership, maybe I was wrong on those matters."